Less is more.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
A few tidbits before I crawl into my cave for a Christmas holiday and renounce any responsibility of things not concerning eating, sleeping, or looking both ways before crossing the street.
After meeting my last deadline, I’ve been beat. Exhausted. Lethargic, even. For a few days I wondered why that was, until I looked back on the past fall and the entire past year. I’ve had quite a bit on my plate, both emotionally and work-and-study-wise.
As if that wasn’t enough, in December I started blogging as well, although this has been a welcome channel to record and analyse all the little insightings I’d otherwise ignore and forget. I’ve even thought it would do me good to read through my archives every now and then so I don’t forget the things I’ve learned.
In life, learning and everything, there’s the ebb and flow aspect. You can’t breath out without breathing in, or use energy without replenishing your reserves. Not very long, at least.
In learning, I feel that once I’ve gathered enough information, I need a way to process it so it sticks with me. Exams are a typical, yet mechanical way to do this, but classically the best way to really learn something is to try and teach it to someone else. That’s when you find out if you’ve really understood how things work. Blogging, incidentally, works in a similar way.
A lot of my friends (myself included) are not very good at the receiving part of life. It seems like being active and productive is the only valid way to exist in this world. It’s not really conscious, but I come to think of it whenever I sign up for another volunteer project or job stint – “Wow, there I go again, hope I have enough in me to get this done, too…”
I’m still very much a work in progress with this one and hope to keep learning about it for the next, say, fifty years. Now, though, I’m trying to take my own advice. Since it feels like I’ve had a long exhale during the past twelve months, I will give myself permission to inhale for the next week and focus on myself and my loved ones for the holidays.
That means a week of blogging hiatus, too. And as logically follows, after that inhale there will be a glorious exhale of insightings gathered throughout the holidays. I’m already excited to get to write that stuff after I’ve had a few days off. 🙂
The holidays are coming, and the one I’m celebrating is Christmas. I have been a bit anxious about how our family will cope with our first Christmas without K, so all through the fall I kind of worried about my Christmas spirit.
Then, on December 1, we put up a Christmas tree. A plastic one, granted, but a beautiful one nevertheless. We put up the lights right away, but decorated it bit by bit during December. The sight of a lit tree in a dark living room has delighted me (us) all month, and helped us build our holiday spirit despite it all.
Another symbol I’ve been recently thinking about is my wedding ring. It’s still seven months until our wedding, and some people might feel it’s silly to get the ring already. (FYI: In Finland, most people consider the wedding ring the “important” one, and the engagement ring is often the plain one, if it’s worn at all.)
I wanted a ring I could really really be happy with on our wedding day as well as on our 30th anniversary. After all, the ring and the pictures are the only tangible things that will still remind us of our promises 30 years from now.
So now I have my ring. It’s beautiful. And sitting in its box waiting for July. Most importantly, I don’t feel like I’ve settled for anything less than what was right for me. In that, I feel it symbolises our relationship even better.
To a large extent, people think in symbols. If I think of Christmas, there are a few symbols that come up instantaneously. Marriage: same thing. Movies, drama, and literature rely heavily on symbols – glasses for the smart characters, lipstick on the pretty girls, anyone? Even language is a symbolic way to illustrate the world around us, and no two people will have the same connotations of any given word.
Symbols evoke in you the sphere of experience they are tied to. They also bring about the individual connotations you have about the specific experiences. For one person, a Christmas tree symbolises love, caring and belonging; for someone else it might symbolise fear and uncertainty, and maybe evoke the distorted laughter of drunken adults.
Because the power of symbols is so strong, it’s important that we get to influence the symbols we encounter. If you feel the need to emotionally connect to something – Chrismas, your relationship with your friends or family, your spirituality – find a symbol that is meaningful to you, and keep it close and visible.
If you feel anxious when thinking of a tree, don’t get one just because you feel you have to. Think of another symbol for the holiday season that stands for love and belonging – or create one. Ten years from now, maybe the sight of a bunny or a teacup will conjure up happy memories from the past.
Thank you for being here
I’m so grateful that someone actually wants to read what I have to say. Hope you find more of what you came here for in the (not yet gargantuan, but getting there) archives, and hope you have a lovely holiday, whatever it is that you celebrate.
And until next time, keep catching your own insightings!